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Court upholds child molester's no-contact condition

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled that a man convicted of two child molesting counts didn’t have his constitutional rights violated because no double jeopardy violation occurred, and the trial judge’s probation condition that he have no contact with anyone younger than 18 is constitutional.

The case involves allegations that Ronald Rexroat molested the daughter of his friends in 2009. The girl told her mom that he touched her on three separate occasions, and the mom reported the allegations to the Indiana Department of Child Services. The state in 2010 charged Rexroat with two Class C felonies, which were two identically worded counts. A jury found him guilty of both, and the trial court sentenced him to six years on each count to be served concurrently, with three years suspended to probation. One of the probation conditions was that Rexroat have no face-to-face, telephonic, electronic or indirect contact with anyone under age 18 unless first approved.

Rexroat appealed his sentence on double jeopardy grounds and also the probation condition that he alleged was overbroad and a violation of his First Amendment rights.

In Ronald Rexroat v. State of Indiana, No. 49A02-1107-CR-594, the Court of Appeals found that Rexroat failed to show any double jeopardy violation under the Indiana or U.S. constitutions. Specifically, the “same elements” test adopted by the Supreme Court of the United States in 1932 doesn’t apply here. As for the state claim, the Indiana Supreme Court in 1999 held that that the second charge must be for the same, identical act and crime as the first offense and that’s not what happened here. The two counts arose from two separate incidents, and so the statutory elements test does not apply.

Turning to the probation condition claim, the appellate panel disagreed that Rexroat’s constitutional rights have been violated. The court looked to its Smith v. State, 727 N.E.2d 763, 767 (Ind. Ct. App. 2000), ruling that adopted a three-prong test to determine whether a probation condition requiring the defendant to avoid all contact with minors was unduly intrusive on constitutional rights.

Rexroat ignored the Smith holding, the court wrote, and he hasn’t shown the probation condition regarding contact with minors is unconstitutional.

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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